Parole Denied Again for Manson Family Member Leslie Van Houten

Leslie Van Houten, right, at her 1970 trial in Los Angeles.
Leslie Van Houten, right, in 1970 at her murder trial in Los Angeles.Getty

California's governor has denied parole for Manson Family member Leslie Van Houten.

Charles Manson family member Leslie Van Houten has been denied parole, the fourth time a California governor has blocked her release. Van Houten, 71, has been behind bars for nearly 50 years for the grisly murders of Los Angeles grocer Leno LaBianca and his wife, Rosemary, in August 1969. Van Houten was 19 at the time.

The murders, in which Manson family members spread the couple's blood on the walls of their Los Feliz home, occurred one day after cult members slaughtered actress Sharon Tate and four friends. Tate, who was married to film director Roman Polanski, was nine months pregnant.

Van Houten did not participate in those killings.

A California board recommended in July that Van Houten be released. Gov. Gavin Newsom overturned that recommendation, which he has done previously. His predecessor, Jerry Brown, twice blocked parole for Van Houten, who has expressed remorse for her actions and has been lauded by correctional authorities as a model prisoner. 

Van Houten’s attorney, Rich Pfeiffer, said he will appeal Newsom's decision. “This reversal will demonstrate to the courts that there is no way Newsom will let her out,” Pfeiffer told The Associated Press.

In his ruling last week, Newsom wrote, "Given the extreme nature of the crime in which she was involved, I do not believe she has sufficiently demonstrated that she has come to terms with the totality of the factors that led her to participate in the vicious Manson Family killings." 

Manson died of natural causes in 2017 at age 83.